CHEK Belt-Tightening Underway

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Victoria’s employee-owned CHEK-TV is hurting.  An internal memo to staff has announced the elimination of sports on its 10 pm newscast, and is requesting staff to consider volunteering to go to part-time status.

The elimination of sports is not unexpected.   Many viewers now get their sports results and highlights from a plethora of specialty cable sources, and newsrooms at local stations all over North America have been de-emphasizing sports.   Observers of different stripes have in recent years questioned how Victoria can economically sustain two private TV stations, with the viewing pie divided between so many dominant Vancouver and Seattle signals.

17 COMMENTS

  1. You have to feel for CHEK staff. BUT, that being said – how many TV, Radio Stations, Magazines and Newspapers are getting killed?
    Advertising sales, are falling through the floor.
    This is an era that is spelling the end of ‘traditional media’.
    Anyone thinking of a career in the media – should think twice.

  2. From 1990 to 1994 Canadian Pacific tried to sell CP Express and Transport. Buyers that could afford to take on 3,000 employees and a fleet of trucks, acres of warehouses , yards and maintenance facilities from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Not one of the buyers was willing or able to take on the gigantic pension plan obligations. In 1994 the employees bought the company and it was called Interlink. In 1996 General Electric whom financed the deal called the loan and that was it. GONE in 60 seconds. I wish the owners at CHEK much luck as they will need it

  3. One of the things which surprised me when the station became employee owned was the continuing involvement of the UNION, and being able to pay the Union Scale wages. I mean, when one is working for oneself as a company owner, one should be willing to put in more than 40 hours per week at knockout wages… am I missing something?

  4. You knew this was coming. You should have produced original programming to individualize your station and attract more viewers and advertising.

  5. To be accurate sports isn’t being eliminated, it’s just being redeployed. CHEK still has the only 30 mimute weekly show dedicated to Vancouver Island sports.. Game On. Theyre tightening their belt, not dropping their pants.

  6. I tend to agree with Scooter….they missed the mark on their audience and their programming and missed a fantastic opportunity to do something different.
    Why did they not target a mature demo? This is Victoria folks? Why did they not seek out unique programming from content providers such as BBC, TVNZ etc that is mature and rich in entertainment and production values? Instead they broadcast a bunch of cheap schlock and locally produced “infomercial-type” programmes.
    They got stuck, instead of thinking outside of the box they went down the boring road to dismal failure.

  7. Wow, the “hate on” for sports continues across Canada, howewver CHEK would be wise to keep their sports coverage. Why ? well, sports journalism still makes money IF you hire sports journalists trained for that purpose. When you have dumb ass news reporters and disc jockeys reading the sports news, mispronouncing names of athletes, rarely interviewing actual athletes and avoiding popular sports like MMA, it waters down all sports and sports fans obviously tune out because they have been disrespected by the mainstream media.

    The cure is to hire a SPORTS DIRECTOR in every market, trained and knowledgeable about sports !

  8. The other station dropped sports from their 11 o’clock news other than the anchor reading a few scores months ago. A full sports segment hasn’t been back so clearly viewers don’t seem to mind or don’t care. If there had been a big outcry or some kind of ratings drop it probably would have been back.

  9. Local Sports (or local news) does not make money on TV anymore. Even network sports, unless it is pro sports like hockey, baseball or football is losing money. The local sports on TV will have a hard time with cost recovery. Even in pro sports the viewers are starting to record games and watch after 40 minutes to skip through the commercials. Local “magazine” type sports shows average about 1500 viewers for the whole of Vancouver Island, so they are not a factor in most ad budgets. Unfortunately all ratings for news are dropping by double digits too (including Global and CTV). The viewers don’t race home to watch anymore. Its all been seen on line well before 5 or 6. TV has not found a way to adapt. The only way they will survive is through CRTC subsidies and begging cable companies for handouts. That is not a business plan that will be around long.

  10. I understand CHEK News needs to make money with advertising, but I have seen a troubling trend of paid promotions being packaged as news on the network. For instance, CHEK Around should be known as “Paid Around” because all the segments seem devoted to advertising certain companies.

  11. The problem I always had with CHEK was it was so bland. Cookie cutter presenters, community calendar offered as “News” and way too much sports.

  12. Willy claims: “Local Sports (or local news) does not make money on TV anymore.”

    Willy, do you, yourself, play sports, or are you simply an armchair athlete, like many of you in the media ?

    Unlike you, I actually work in amateur sport as an organizer in my community, and in 20 years of involvement, I have never NOT made money with my events.

    The problem then, is not that media cannot make money through sport, but rather, it’s simply you armchair athletes are best at sitting on your asses and drinking beer.

    You media types, including you beancounters, don’t really know how to make money through sports. Therefore, beer drinking, lazy people adds up to = failure in making money through sports.

    But, there’s money to be made. make no mistake.

    Maybe I need to show you lazy, incompetant people how to do it ! LOL

    NAPPC

  13. Not A Penny…

    Yes I am involved in amateur sports, professional sports, and coaching sports in several seasons, on several levels.

    Far from being in an armchair, I also play what I coach and a few others too.

    I know what it costs to run a media business and trust me the numbers are staggering. A typical local TV station has a payroll between $250,000 and $1.5 million per month. Add to that the cost of the rest of the programming and Local News and Sports do not make money. Ask Rogers, Shaw and Bell what part of their companies makes all the dollars. It isn’t TV.

  14. CHEK has been the poster child for amateur television for decades. I say it’s a safe bet that CHEK has never had an original idea that made any sense. It’s been a horror show, from writing, to shooting, to presenting, to lighting, to set design, to… well you get the picture. And a dull, lifeless picture it is.

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